Results of Osprey monitoring in autumn 2023 in the Andes of Mérida, Venezuela.
Northern South America and especially Venezuela represents an important stopover and wintering area for osprey populations. However, knowledge of this species in Venezuela is scarce, even though it is not a difficult species to observe. As excellent globetrotters, ospreys overcome challenges and adversities to reach their preferred wintering areas during their annual migration to Venezuela. The specimens that visit us usually enter through the Venezuelan Caribbean or through the Venezuelan Andes, specifically through the Sierra de Mérida.
In the city of Mérida, every year, from Five White Eagles HawkWatch, we organize ourselves to receive the ospreys and during the fall season we count as many as we can. For this past fall 2023 season, which ran from October 9 to November 23 with a total of 223 hours of effort, we sighted 25 ospreys. Perhaps this number is small, but it is a great achievement because we are the only station dedicated exclusively to the study of osprey and other migratory raptors in Venezuela.
Does this data mean that few ospreys visit Venezuela? The truth is no, hundreds of ospreys must come to Venezuela from different fronts. The Sierra de Mérida only represents an entry region with many doors. In this sense, the Mérida mountain range constitutes a network of migratory routes and in one of these routes or migratory corridors is located the Five White Eagles Station. Therefore, determining where they enter Venezuela, how many eagles migrate to Venezuela, their main feeding and wintering areas in the country, and the anthropic threats to ospreys are some of the most important objectives for the conservation of osprey populations.
You can visit us in our Hawk Count profile and see the data of all the seasons. https://hawkcount.org/siteinfo.php?rsite=826